Whilst we all know now that Australia is on the top of the world (see the article in Thomo’s Hole), one of the proofs I presented in that article for the Northern Hemisphere being on the bottom of the globe was the following:
When someone walks outside at night and looks up, they see stars. In the northern hemisphere, they see, for example, the North Star. You do not see terribly many stars, just a few million or so (well, a few million if you happen to have particularly good eye sight). Therefore, stars are an astronomical sign of up. When you are in the Southern Hemisphere in say Australia, South Africa or Argentina and you walk outside and look up, you also see stars. The difference here is that you see a few hundred million and you do not need terribly good eyes to see them all. There are more stars in the sky. In this case, if stars indicate up, then more stars must indicate more up. More up must be higher than up, therefore the Southern Hemisphere is higher than the Northern Hemisphere and therefore must be on top of the World. Australia is on the top and Norway is on the bottom.
So, why the apology? Well, when I was out on the Gobi recently I was there at night and there is almost no ambient light on the Gobi at night. I had a chance to have a good look up, to see the Big Dipper (Doloon Burkhan in Mongolian – which means “Big Spoon”), Venus and Mars and a number of stars. What struck me was that there were many more stars than I had noticed before in the northern hemisphere’s sky.
So, I must apologise for the reference above to “a few million”. There are many, many more. Mind you, there are still way more visible in the Southern Hemisphere sky so the proofs still stand. 🙂